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A Short Note on “Waar” and Terrorism in Pakistan

A Short Note on “Waar” and Terrorism in Pakistan

Yesterday, the venerable Nadeem Mandviwala tweeted that Waar had crossed 18 crores in its total earnings, and the countdown could now begin on it becoming the greatest grosser in Pakistani film history. That record is held by Syed Noor’s Chooriyan, which grossed 20 crores. Hasan Zaidi, the founder of the Kara Film Festival and probably the most reliable authority on cinema in Pakistan explained here that within cinema parlance, if Waar was made in 6 crore PKR, it would only now have broken even at 18 crores. I would highly recommend reading his excellent piece here to understand why. (its quite simple)

 

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However, I was interested in something else here. If you all remember, when Waar came out there was a huge fuss and cry about its plot.

Essentially, the issue was that all the blame of terrorism was placed on double agents from our neighbouring country. As Rafay Mahmood wrote in the Express Tribune,

“This piece of pointless propaganda is going to further confuse an already puzzled nation about Pakistan’s outlook on counter-terrorism.”

Now let me make clear that I don’t buy the “All terrorists are Injun agents” theory. And I am firmly of the view that Pakistan needs to develop organic strategies to counter terrorism.

But Waar didn’t offend me. Partly because I felt it was bullshit that films like Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty get away with being ‘critically’ acclaimed despite a totally chutyap depiction of politics. And let’s not even get started into the politics of films like Iron Man.

Partly, I also felt that holding up the politics of any action film was a bit useless. In my opinion, such films don’t change attitudes, although they might reinforce previously held beliefs.

Keeping that in mind, I suppose I should be worried how Waar would at the very least be reinforcing a confused Pakistani narrative.

But then this happened.

No, not only did this happen, but all mothafucking hell broke lose. Immy bhai was so livid he wanted to declare war on the US.

via @Memeabad

Nisar uncle was also losing his shit, though sycophants and the likes claimed that this was only because the N’s secret plan to lie about talks while preparing to fight had been undone.

via @Memeabad

Then the politician fighting the world’s longest battle against oblivion, Maulana Fazlullah weighed in.

via Rants of a Pakistani Citizen

And popping his cherry on top was former Surkha (love mentioning this) Munawwar Hasan.

He also said that Pakistani soldiers killed fighting the TTP were NOT shaheeds. Image via @memeabad

So, according to the political class some politicians, not only are the TTP shaheeds, but Pakistani soldiers killed by them are not shaheed. Although no one has come out and said this as yet, this would also imply that Pakistani citizens killed in terrorist attacks are also not Shaheed.

via @Memeabad

I know people will jump up and point to statements by select leaders contradicting such claims, but none of those voices have been loud enough to matter IMHO. Little wonder then that Dawn did this.

via EVERYONE on twitter

What does all this have to do with Waar?

Well, I just want to ask the people who felt Waar was confusing the national narrative how they feel now? I mean, at least in the film the terrorists were the BAD GUYS. In Pakistan’s reality, they are variously subaltern rebels, anti-imperialist Holy Warriors, and the path to salvation.

via Awami Burger Party

In fact, four years after the Swat operation, it is Malala who is exiled and Fazlullah who is back in Pakistan.

via Rants of a Pakistani Citizen

It is the politicians who refuse to come out and call the terrorists something other than an adjective used to describe the Care Bears. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Army’s statement on JI claimed that Maulana Maududi – you know the guy who was vehemently against Pakistan and led the anti-Ahmedi movement – was an all round great guy. PPP ke memo se gaand jalti hai, magar Munawwar sb ki hazaroon shaheed faujiyon ki behurmati per manoo billi wali statement nikalti hai. Bahut khub .

via @Memeabad

So I ask you, who exactly is responsible for Pakistan’s terrorist narrative confusion?

Is it a wildly popular film which pits Pakistan against terrorists, or is it the political class/establishment which lies to its citizens with the sort of brazenness that would make Pinocchio look like a Viagra commercial? Is it the convenient, black and white narrative of Waar which is the issue, or is it those talking heads on TV who lie to us even about how many people have been killed?

As with many things, Malala has the answer.

via Rants of a Pakistani Citizen

DIRECTOR’S CUT ALTERNATE ENDING:

Is it a wildly popular film which pits Pakistan against terrorists, or is it the political class/establishment which lies to its citizens with the sort of brazenness that would make Pinocchio look like a Viagra commercial? Is it the convenient, black and white narrative of Waar which is the issue, or is it those talking heads on TV who lie to us even about how many people have been killed?

To quote Shaan with the best line of the film: “Here’s a third option – GO FUCK YOURSELF”

About Ahmer Naqvi

Ahmer Naqvi is the Brian Lara of his generation. He's a genius but his team usually loses.